Community gathers to expand major DC urban garden

0

It occupies only a small open space near Allen Chapel AME Church in southeast DC, but a newly expanded urban garden has a big impact on the community it serves.

This plot is one of seven DC Urban Plots sponsored by 11th Street Bridge Park. (WTOP / Mike Murillo)

It occupies only a small open space near Allen Chapel AME Church in southeast DC, but a newly expanded urban garden has a big impact on the community it serves.

“We provide food to everyone who needs food; we don’t ask them any questions, ”said Thelma Speight, executive director of the church’s McKinley Crudup Outreach Center.

The garden has been operational for some time, but in recent months some area students and community organizations have come together to help expand the garden so that more free goods can be distributed to those in need. It now includes several new raised garden beds that grow everything from hot peppers to kale.

The plot is one of seven DC Urban Plots sponsored by 11th Street Bridge Park. Projects director Scott Kratz said the goal of urban plots like this is to help underserved communities, such as Ward 8, which is in a location with limited access to grocery stores. .

“We have one grocery store serving 75,000 residents here in the neighborhood, compared to 13 grocery stores in Ward 6 serving the same number of people,” Kratz said.

Kratz has spearheaded the expansion of the garden, which has been around for four years. The project required some planning, as the aim was not only to create the new plantation area, but also to make it easier to maintain for the many older people who use and maintain the space.

The design of the new raised beds was entrusted to a group of engineering students at Howard University.

“The challenge for them was: can you design, design and build raised beds, for the elderly who don’t have to bend over because it puts enormous strain on your back,” Kratz said.

The students, the Engineers Without Borders group and Clark Construction among others, rose to the challenge of making the new beds a reality, according to Kratz.

Using concrete blocks and wood, the design team came up with a concept that would support raised beds nearly 40 inches in height.

Howard University student Cheikh Badiane said that over the past few months they have been working on the design of the garden, and he said it was a special feeling to see it take shape.

“Honestly, the most euphoric feeling I’ve had all year,” Badiane said.

Speight said until July and before the expansion the garden produced a few hundred pounds of produce. With the new expanded plot, she expects to produce 600 pounds of food this season.

“We are so grateful to everyone who supported us,” said Spieght.

The beds may have opened last week, but the work of the engineering team is not done. In the coming months, it is planned to add safety ramps and ramps to make the site more accessible to the many volunteers who help maintain the plot. They also design an irrigation system that can be used to keep the many plants watered.

“It gives you peace of mind, to see something grow out of thin air and then be able to give it to someone where there are no chemicals,” said Leslie Haywood, deputy executive director of McKinley Crudup Outreach Center.


Source link

Share.

Leave A Reply